The Los Angeles Lakers are still looking for their first win and the news and trade rumors are ramping up.
Check out the latest buzz below.
Latest on Kobe Trade Rumors
The speculation about Kobe Bryant being traded to the New York Knicks started with basically no evidence other than the Lakers haven’t won a game yet.
But the speculation prompted a statement from Bryant, who denied that he wants to be traded.
“I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career. But that’s not what I do. I’m extremely loyal to the Lakers,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports.
“I believe in fighting through the tough times as well as enjoying the good times. It’s my responsibility to get us to be the best that we can be. It’s important that we approach that on a day-to-day basis.”
One unnamed Eastern Conference general manager told the New York Daily News that he doesn’t see it happening. “The only way this happens is if Kobe goes to the Lakers and asked to be traded,” the executive said.
“A trade with the Knicks makes sense on a few levels. It’s a big market, [Carmelo] Anthony is a close friend and [new coach Derek] Fisher is a trusted former teammate,” the News added.
“And if you think [Phil] Jackson’s ego is big now, imagine if he pulls this one off. Even if the Knicks acquire Bryant, they would still be in a position to make a run at Kevin Durant, who becomes a free agent in July of 2016.”
There’s also speculation that the Lakers are trying to tank because they owe the Phoenix Suns their first round draft pick next year unless its in the top five, which means they’d have to have a pretty bad record.
Bryant Shoots 37 Shots, Lakers Lose
The Lakers fell to 0-5 after falling to the Phoenix Suns 112-106 on Tuesday night.
Bryant shot 37 shots but only made 14, ending with 39 points. He did have 12 free throws.
“I was just being aggressive. I played with a lot of energy today. It’s easy to look at it and say 37 shots, but you don’t see how hard I was working to get easy opportunities, offensive rebounds and transition shots,” Bryant said.
” Some of the easy ones I missed, but if you play with a lot of energy and are relentless, you’ll get a lot of opportunities.”
Bryant’s third 3-pointer trimmed Phoenix’s lead to 106-104, but Eric Bledsoe hit two free throws before P.J. Tucker punctuated his season debut with the decisive 3-pointer in front of the Lakers’ bench with 19 seconds left.
“When Kobe is out there, you never know what’s going to happen,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He can get it going, and he made some big plays at the end. But we made some free throws, and Tuck hit the big 3 in the corner. They played pretty decent, and we were lucky to win that game.”
Scott sees frustration in his winless team, and Bryant hopes the youngsters and castoffs populating Los Angeles’ roster will follow his lead in effort, if not shot volume.
“Just get a damn win,” Bryant said. “You can’t listen to what everybody says. You can’t listen to people. You’ve got to be stubborn as a mule. You’ve got to keep chipping away. Got to keep competing and going after it, and this thing will turn around. Just as easily as we lost five in a row, we can turn around and win five in a row.”
“If you look at the next three games, he’s not going to be playing 44 minutes. I’ll taper back his minutes,” coach Byron Scott added. “As far as him carrying the load, he’s going to do whatever he thinks he has to do to win the game.”
Lin and Boozer Eclipsed by Hill
The second-best player question is one of the more intriguing for the Lakers, and one writer argues that it’s become Jordan Hill over the predicted Jeremy Lin or Carlos Boozer.
“While Lin and Boozer have foundered as No. 2 options after Kobe Bryant, Hill had matching games of 23 points against the Clippers and Golden State over the weekend,” Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times noted before the Suns game.
“Hill’s burst has helped deflect criticism from Boozer, who is averaging only 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Lakers Coach Byron Scott said the Lakers simply needed to run more plays for Boozer.”
Scott also “seemed perplexed” by Lin’s play after the Lakers loss to the Warriors. Lin was supposed to provide a huge offensive spark for the Lakers but has been relatively disappointing so far.
“He hasn’t been lights out. [Saturday] was another one of those games where he’s been up and down. We’ve got to try to get something out of him every single game,” Scott said. Lin did have a nice game against the Suns, shooting 4-of-8 and making 9-0f-10 free throws to notch 18 points in 27 minutes.
Hill’s feeling the pressure and trying to step up.
“I feel the team needs me. Kobe can’t do it by himself. He definitely needs help,” said Hill, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds against the Suns in 34 minutes.
“I was shooting the whole time in the off-season. That’s all I’ve been focusing on,” Hill said. “I’m getting them to knock down and I feel comfortable about it.”
Randle Motivated to Learn While Out With Injury
Rookie Julius Randle’s season has been cut short with a fractured right tibia but he says he plans to use the time to “become an extreme student of the game.”
Randle, who was at the Staples Center for the Suns game for the first time since breaking his leg on opening night, also said he’s looking to recover strongly from the injury.
“I do have an attack plan. More than anything I’m just motivated,” he told reporters.
Randle also said that Bryant has helped motivate him.
He said that Kobe was one of the main people to help him get out of his “pity party,” reported Serena Winters of Lakers Nation.
Lakers May Pick Up Miller
The Lakers are in the running for more players after injuries to Steve Nash and Julius Randle, and they may try to snag free agent Quincy Miller.
Shams Charania of RealGM said that out of several teams inquiring about Miller since he was cut by the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers are leading suitors.
The signing would be good, says one analysis.
“Miller is not the type of signing that will turn this team from a bottom-feeder into an NBA title contender overnight (those types of moves are hopefully coming down the road for Lakers fans), but his ceiling is rather high for someone Los Angeles could grab for very cheap,” noted Bleacher Report.
“He will only be 22 this season and is finally recovered from a torn ACL that he suffered in high school that plagued his game early in his college and NBA career. We are yet to see what Miller can do at the NBA level when he is fully healthy, and Los Angeles now has that chance.
“Miller is such an intriguing option because he was a 5-star stud and the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2011 coming out of high school, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
“If Miller ever does deliver on his vast potential, he can be an NBA superstar. Los Angeles would be wise to make sure that happens when he is wearing purple and gold.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.